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Taking care of business: how do I look after my son’s penis?

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During those early days, bathing your baby boy baby can feel like a challenge in itself. But what about taking care of his more private parts? As a mother who has different bits and pieces down below, this might seem a little foreign. However keeping your son’s genitals in good shape is an important part of his health regime – and luckily it’s not as tricky as you might think.

Keep it clean

At bath time, wash you baby’s penis and scrotum as you might wash the rest of his body, using warm water and a cotton ball. No soap is needed as it can irritate your baby’s skin, however you can add a little mild baby cleanser to the water if you want. Once your baby is clean, carefully pat his genitals dry with a soft towel. You can do this during bath time or even while changing a nappy, using soft baby wipes. Just make sure they’re unscented and contain no alcohol as this can also irritate his skin.

What about the foreskin?

The foreskin is the loose skin that covers the head of the penis. It’s completely attached at birth, and initially you only need to wash the outside. Over time, the foreskin slowly separates and then it can be retracted. This usually occurs by the age of two or three, however in some situations not until puberty.

Once separated, you may notice white and yellow lumps gathering under the foreskin. This is called smegma and consists of dead skin cells and natural secretions. It’s also very normal and of absolutely no concern.

Some parents choose to circumcise their sons for medical or cultural reasons. This involves surgically removing the foreskin, however tis procedure is now performed much less frequently.

Dealing with nappy rash

Nappy rash is a common occurrence in babies and can cause redness in the penis. Pop your baby in a warm soothing warm bath to alleviate any sore red skin. Make sure you dry him properly and apply nappy rash or barrier creams, even to tip of penis, after every nappy change. Try changing nappies more often to avoid skin irritation, or even better, let your baby go nappy-free for a while and let him enjoy the healing benefits of fresh air.

Should I see the doctor?

While some situations are everyday and easily resolved, you might, at some point, be faced with something a little more puzzling. Should you see the following, it’s recommend that you take your son to see your family doctor:

  • The penis is red and swollen
  • Your son appears distressed when doing a wee
  • He has a fever along with other symptoms
  • There’s a discharge or pus coming from the penis
  • Your son’s foreskin balloons when he wees.

Handy tips for penis care

Looking after your son’s genitals is not difficult – and the below check list offers some basic care tips that will definitely point you in the right direction:

  • Do not force the foreskin to retract, this will happen naturally
  • Once retracted, make sure the foreskin is replaced after urinating
  • Wash genitals using water or mild baby cleanser
  • Avoid baby wipes or any products containing alcohol or perfume
  • Avoid talcum powder on baby’s genitals as it has fine particles that your baby can inhale
  • Change your baby’s nappy frequently as leaving him in a dirty nappy for too long can lead to infection and irritation
  • Do not apply antiseptic creams to the penis unless medically prescribed
  • If you are at all concerned, make an appointment to see your doctor
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